LIBERTY Steel Group | Select another site to see content specific to your location Change site

Website select
Global United Kingdom Czech Republic Romania Belgium Italy North Macedonia Poland Luxembourg Hungary
  • 29/11/2023
  • Blog

Our Mission at COP 28 – Partnerships that accelerate action

Combating climate change will require meaningful collaboration between a host of nations, which is why COP28, to be held in Dubai, is so vital if it is to achieve meaningful outcomes and an enduring legacy.

Much has been made of the choice of the UAE as the host country, and the appointment of an oil man – Dr Sultan Al Jaber – as the President of COP.  I believe that Dr Sultan’s background and the choice of the UAE uniquely qualifies him to understand the problems that stem from an over dependence on fossil fuels. Just like the UAE, Dr Al Jabar has the drive and experience to ensure this COP will have a profound legacy.

COP28’s tasks are clear and comprehensively addressed in the 12 day program: ‘to unite a diverse range of stakeholders … around specific solutions … to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, build resilience, and mobilise finance at scale.’

These aims are also embraced by many in industry, where there is widespread understanding of what needs to be done.  Now we need the partnerships that will accelerate actions.

For LIBERTY, developing those relationships during COP 28 is top of our agenda.

Steel transformation needed 

For centuries steel has been the skeleton on which nations are built, now it is also the key material for delivering the clean energy infrastructure that will help us meet net zero.  But with steel already accounting for over 8% of global carbon emissions, and demand set to increase dramatically over the coming decades, as countries like India urbanise, it’s clear that steel needs to change for the good of the planet and to avoid colliding with increasingly stringent regulations and ever heavier penalties. The good news is that there are technical solutions already here and many more on the way.

Cut to the Future

Green hydrogen can replace coking coal for making iron eliminating direct carbon emissions. At LIBERTY we intend to scale up our vast reserves of over 4 billion metric tonnes of high quality (70% + Fe content) magnetite ore in South Australia, to produce green iron briquettes using hydrogen. Briquettes that can be melted with steel scrap and converted into fresh high grade steel in the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) plants that we are building across the world, starting in Australia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

This necessary and radical transformation will itself require significant renewable energy inputs, and the replacement of existing production with new lower carbon technologies.  By 2030 the clean energy requirement to support our transition alone is the equivalent of ten nuclear reactors. With over 1,100 coal based blast furnaces across the world, making the transition to new technologies will entail vast investment across the industry, as much as $3tn over the next quarter of a century.

Fortunately at LIBERTY we have some excellent partners that will speed our progress and share the responsibility. The government of South Australia is investing directly to build the world’s largest hydrogen electrolyser next to our plant in Whyalla where we are already building an EAF. This will significantly support our transition to green iron and steel.  We are also actively exploring locations across the world where renewable energy and competitive hydrogen for iron production is feasible, including Eastern Europe, the USA and the UAE where the government plans a $54 billion investment in growing renewable energy and Green Hydrogen technologies.

These step-change projects are accompanied by steady improvements to our existing lower carbon emissions operations in Australia, the USA, Poland, and our speciality steel business in the UK, where we will increase our use of renewable power to recycle scrap steel and use biochar in our EAF to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30%.

But whether its radical change or continuous improvement, the scale of the challenge is vast, partnerships are essential, investors vital, and government support essential if we are to accelerate action and cut to the future to meet the UN’s target by 2050.

It’s a message that needs to be heard by everyone, especially those working, or considering working in our global industry.

Generation Green Steel

Industries such as steel need to reskill existing staff and cultivate the next generation to enable this transition. As the industry evolves, green steel offers us the opportunity to reposition as a modern, clean sector where young people can build a career and genuinely make a difference.

Through our GFG Foundation and our Greensteel Academies we provide tailored programmes for cadets and existing employees to develop their skills and capabilities for the future. In Romania we have been working with students in high school and universities to promote science-based learning and prepare them for new green industrial roles in the future. That’s why at COP28 we will be talking earnestly to our social partners and leading universities to ensure a smooth transition for existing workers and a clean, green platform to attract future talent.

I look forward to discussing these topics and much more during COP28, with a clear message to our partners and to everyone – join us in the green steel revolution.

Sanjeev Gupta
Executive Chairman